WPC: Nostalgia



My dad loves Coleus, and I remember watching him plant Coleus and Scarlet Sage, Impatiens, Calaldiums and Begonias since I was a little girl.  He loves growing flowers and tending bright annual beds each summer.

And his love of flowers came from his mother’s mother, who had an overgrown garden of old roses and bright perennials behind her house decades after she was able to go out and tend to it herself.  I remember picking flowers in her garden as a very young child; flowers and mulberries, which we ate over ice cream.




Always the Boy Scout, Dad believes in leaving a place a little better than he found it.  And part of that philosophy always expressed itself in making beds of flowers and cultivating the lawn at each of our family homes.

And he is a talented gardener with an artist’s eye for color and a pastor’s touch for making things thrive.  He still breaks off bits of annual stem and thrusts them into moist soil, somehow coaxing them to root into new plants at his whim.




And now I join him in his gardening projects again.  Others might call me his ‘enabler’ with undisguised disdain.  And that is fine with me. 


Caladiums and Impatiens growing this summer in my father's garden.

Caladiums and Impatiens growing this summer in my father’s garden.


Despite physical handicaps, his gardener’s heart is strong and craves color and flowers as it always has.  Sometimes we openly visit the Great Big Greenhouse together, loading the cart he pushes for us.  The shopping cart is even better than his walker for letting his legs follow where his eyes see something of interest.


One of the Coleus plant we bought together this summer, and shared by rooting cuttings.

This is one of the Coleus plants we bought together this summer, and shared by rooting cuttings.


Other times I quietly leave offerings of little plants on the back patio where he knows to find them, without saying a word about them in front of  Mother.  I’ve filled his tubs with Caladiums this summer and helped him plant a hedge of Coleus beside the back walk.  The Coleus we both love so much. 

Nostalgia can hurt or heal.  We all know this.  But I believe that nostalgia heals when it keeps us in touch with those people and things we love.

Nostalgia helps us share our happiness from generation to generation.


Caladiums in my father's garden.

Caladiums in my father’s garden.


For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Nostalgia




Woodland Gnome 2016

One Word Photo Challenge: Teal

March 4, 2015 heart 001


An annual Impatiens plant lives on through winter in a pot in our living room.  When it bloomed again in February, I cut stems for my In A Vase on Monday post on a  cold and snowy Monday.


March 4, 2015 Impatiens 002


Although the flowers faded, both stems rooted.


March 4, 2015 Impatiens 004


In fact, they have grown huge root systems in just a few weeks.  This is such a beautiful affirmation of spring stirring in the plants!


March 4, 2015 Impatiens 007


Since teal is on my mind this week, I found a beautiful teal pot for the rooted stems, and potted them up with a division of lady fern.


March 4, 2015 Impatiens 008


They can grow on together in the pot until it is warm enough to move them outside into a hanging basket or a larger pot.

Impatiens bloom non-stop all summer long. They love moist fertile soil in partial shade.


March 4, 2015 Impatiens 010~

They will grow to nearly two feet high if planted in good, rich soil.  They are heavy feeders and appreciate good soil and regular feeding.  A single plant will fill a hanging basket.

Impatiens are so easily rooted in water that I often buy a hanging basket of double impatiens when they first appear in the spring, then take lots of cuttings while also cutting that plant back.  The original plant grows back bushier and stronger, with more blooms.  The cuttings can soon be planted out as independent plants to enjoy all summer.  This is a neat trick when you need a lot of the same cultivar of impatiens for a large planting.


March 4, 2015 Impatiens 014


Our over-wintered plant has long, winter stretched stems, as you might expect.  It needs a good trim before growing on this summer.  So I’m helping it along by cutting another stem for the vase.


March 4, 2015 Impatiens 015


At this rate, I can fill the vase indefinitely.  Would you call this re-cycling?  I think it is a beautiful way to get us through this next bout of wintery weather and continue preparations for spring!


March 4, 2015 Impatiens 013


With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells  for her

One Word Photo Challenge:  Teal



Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

In A Vase On Monday

February 16, 2015 Monday Vase 002


Today’s vase of flowers reflects what is growing and blooming in our garden indoors.

We were thrilled to see the Impatiens, tucked into a pot of Caladium tubers back in November, in bloom this weekend.  These are the first Impatiens flowers we’ve seen since autumn.   We expect these cuttings will root and grow on through the coming summer.

The Caladiums have also decided to offer some fresh winter leaves.  I selected two tiny ones for this vase.  A few Cyclamen flowers and a Jewel Orchid stem complete the arrangement.


February 16, 2015 Monday Vase 003


We are happy to enjoy a vase of these bright summer flowers, knowing that at least a few of these stems will grow roots and live on. Our indoor garden offers enough flowers to get us through until the garden outside wakes up to spring.

Today’s vase was purchased from the potter at a show a few years ago.  It is very ‘handmade,’ and eccentric, but we admired its free form exuberance and bright glaze.  Sadly, it is signed only with an initial, and I don’t recall the artist’s name.


February 16, 2015 Monday Vase 005~

The glass ball off to the side is by Portland, Oregon glass artist Paris Birdwell.   I met her at a show  in Oregon last September, and had to bring this unusual piece home.

You can see our stark winter garden through the window.  The hazel tree is absolutely covered with little catkins dancing around in the breeze.

It just looks cold, doesn’t it? 

Our garden is frozen rock solid now, after a winter storm front swept through Saturday evening, leaving Arctic air in its wake.  Our high today was around 20 F, and all of the waterways around us are freezing.  The Violas I had hoped to cut for the vase today have collapsed in the cold, and snow will cover them by nightfall.  They are hardy, though, and can perhaps  be cut next week, instead.

Today we are content to stay inside, where it’s warm enough for flowers, cats and people to grow on happily, and in comfort.

Please visit Cathy, at Rambling In the Garden, to see the beautiful vase of early spring flowers she brought in from her garden today.  Cathy hosts this Monday Vase challenge each week, and you’ll find links in her comments to vases arranged by many other enthusiastic gardeners.

This is an international challenge, and I always find it interesting to see how the seasons are progressing, elsewhere.  If you’re feeling even a little inspired, please pull together a little vase of your own with whatever you can scavenge locally.  Wonderful surprises wait for you to notice them…..


February 16, 2015 snow 002


Woodland Gnome 2015

One Word Photo Challenge: Fuchsia

September 30, Fuschia 006

Fucshia remains one of my favorite plants, and one of my favorite colors.

Both the plant, and the color, attract hummingbirds.

Once we realized we had a community of hummingbirds in our garden, I determined to grow baskets of Fuchsia on our mostly shady deck to attract them.

Since our first spring here in our Forest Garden, I’ve included Fuchsias and fuchsia colored flowers in our potted garden on the deck.


Hummingbirds enjoy these fuchsia colored Begonia flowers, also.

Hummingbirds enjoy these fuchsia colored Begonia flowers, also.


We are rewarded with frequent visits from our tiny hummingbirds, exploring the daily offering of nectar.

Fuchsias, as tender perennials, will keep going indefinitely when protected from winter’s freezing temperatures.

They grow woody after a while, but can be revived with spring pruning.

September 30, Fuschia 010

Blooms come on new growth.  And the plants take their time getting started each season.  Blossoms may not appear until early summer.

I’ve tried many different cultivars over the years, and had mixed successes and failures.  I’m still learning to grow Fuchsias properly, to be completely honest.

Fuchsias prefer a cooler, moister climate than coastal Virginia offers.


Impatiens, like Fuchsias, prefer cool, moist, shady homes.  They grow well in the same pot or basket, along with ferns.

Impatiens, like Fuchsias, prefer cool, moist, shady homes. They grow well in the same pot or basket, along with ferns.


They can not abide our intensely hot summer sunshine.  And so they must grow in a spot shaded from our hottest afternoon and early evening summer sun.

They also like steady moisture in their soil, and regular snacks throughout the season.  Give them conditions they prefer, feed them every few weeks, and they bloom non-stop for months.


Fuchsia "Marinka"

Fuchsia “Marinka”


Some Fuchsia cultivars offer very showy, large flowers in shades of white, pink, red, violet and of course, fuchsia.

I’ve had the most success with a relatively small flowered red variety known as “Marinka.”  The hummingbirds love this one, and it is more forgiving of less than perfect conditions than other cultivars I’ve tried.


F. "Marinka" in bud.

F. “Marinka” in bud.


And so F. “Marinka” remains a staple of our summer garden, and at least one plant gets to come into the garage each fall to wait out winter in safety.

Other fuschia toned flowers our hummingbirds love include Impatiens, Begonias, geraniums and petunias.

Fuchsia geraniums grow even more intense during the shorter, cooler days of Indian summer.

Fuchsia geraniums grow even more intense during the shorter, cooler days of Indian summer.

We grow a variety of these bright and beautiful flowers all around the house and garden, and are rewarded with frequent glimpses of our hummingbirds enjoying their nectar.


Petunias also bring the hummingbirds close to feed.

Petunias also bring the hummingbirds close to feed.


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014


With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

One Word Photo Challenge:  Fuchsia

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